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Jan 31 2018

Marine Force Recon

United States Marine Corps Force Reconnaissance. otherwise known as Force Recon. units are a special operations force under the command of the United States Marine Corps. Many Force Recon Marines have now been integrated into MARSOC. however the Corps still retains its own dedicated Force Recon units.

Force Recon – Roles

The primary role of Force Recon marine is to gather intelligence in support of USMC operations. They also have a direct action role.

  • amphibious reconnaissance
    • scout swimming
    • beach/coastline reconnaissance
    • small boat operations
  • deep reconnaissance
  • direct action
  • maritime interdiction (includes counter piracy)
  • visit board search and seizure (VBSS)

Force Recon’s amphibious/deep reconnaissance role is referred to as ‘Green operations’. Their direct action roles such as VBSS and maritime interdiction etc are known as ‘Black operations’.

Force Recon – Training

Force Recon Marines are trained in parachuting, including high altitude techniques (HALO, HAHO), skiing and amphibious techniques, including working with SCUBA gear.

Force Recon Video

Force Recon – Organization

In 2006, Force Reconnaissance Marines that had not been reassigned to MSOB units within MARSOC weren integrated into ‘Delta’ Companies within Division Recon Battalions. (1st, 2nd and 3rd), forming Deep Reconnaissance Platoons (DRPs).

Deep Reconnaisance Platoons deploy as part of the Command Element (CE) of a Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF), providing a reconnaissance and direct action capability within the MAGTF commander’s area of interest.

In October 2008, by the direction of the Commandant of the Marine Corps (CMC), the D companies within both 1st and 2nd Reconnaissance Battalions were redesignated as “Force Reconnaissance” companies and assigned operational control to the Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) accordingly, particularly the I MEF and II MEF. These companies will assume the traditional deep reconnaissance and supportive arms mission set and will deploy in support of current directive required by the United States Marine Corps.

The two Force Reconnaissance companies of 1st and 2nd Recon Battalions, along with 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion’s DRP [formerly 5th Force Recon Company], are currently the only active components of force-level reconnaissance; whereas the 3rd and 4th FORECON are the Active Reserve component to the Fleet Marine Force.

A Force Reconnaissance Company consists of:

  • Company Headquarters
    • Commanding Officer (CO)
    • Executive Officer (XO)
    • Sergeant Major
  • Supporting elements:
    • S1 (Administrative) Shop
    • S2 (Intelligence) Section
    • S3 (Operations)
    • S4 (Logistics and Supply)
    • S6 (Communications)
  • 5-6 Force Reconnaissance Platoons

Force Recon Marines will typically deploy attached to a Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) as a Force Reconnaissance Platoon (FRP). The FRP provides the direct action element for the MEU’s Maritime Raid Force. A Force Reconnaissance Platoon typically comprises:

  • Platoon Headquarters
    • Platoon Commander
    • Platoon Sergeant
    • Platoon Radio Operator
    • Navy Special Amphibious Reconnaissance Corpsman (SARC)
      (SARCs are Navy medics that are trained to the same standard as the rest of the Recon Platoon.)
    • Platoon Equipment NCO (Rigger/ Armorer)
  • 3 x 6-man Reconnaissance teams

A Reconnaissance team is made up of:

  • 1 x Team Leader (staff sergeant)
  • 1 x Assistant Team Leader (seargent / staff sergeant)
  • 1 x Radio Operator
  • 1 x Assistant Radio Operator
  • 1 x Slack Man
  • 1 x Point Man

Six is the minimum number of men required to carry out the deep reconnaissance role.

The 24th MEU’s Force Recon Platoon conducts VBSS training.

U.S. DoD photo by Gunnery Sgt. James H. Frank

Force Recon- Operations

  • 1965-1971 – Vietnam
  • 1991 – Persian Gulf – Operation Desert Storm
  • 2003 – Iraq – Operation Iraqi Freedom

Force Recon Photos

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